Thursday, August 6, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 8/6/15

Public Lands Heist:

Have you heard about efforts in Western States, including Washington, to transfer federal public lands to the state? A campaign to transfer public lands to state control threatens hundreds of millions of acres of national forests, rangelands, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas and historic sites across the Western US.

This public land heist threatens the landscapes we love and the notion that public lands belong to everyone. America’s craggy mountains, golden plains, and rivers belong to all of us, whether we live in New York or Montana, whether we visit these places weekly or hope that our children will someday see them.

Imagine if the place where you love to hike, climb, paddle, ski, bike, or camp were suddenly sold off for profit, or to cover the cost of a wildfire or drought. Once our mountains, forests, and rivers are gone, there’s no replacing them. To read more, click here. To sign a petition to stop this, click here.


--This is a very interesting graphic that shows Mt. Baker in 2013 in early July and Mt. Baker in 2015 in early July. The lack of snow in 2015 is insane.

An outraged hiker posted this photo of a family defacing USFS
property on Facebook. Over 53,000 people have shared the photo.

--Hikers, rock climbers, bird-watchers, and folks who want to watch water cascade over a 97-foot-high cliff are frequent visitors at Tumalo Falls Park in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest. Allegedly, so are vandals—a whole family of them who etched their names into a railing in the park. That’s what resident Brett Nelson spotted while trekking through the park, which is about 25 miles west of Bend, last Saturday afternoon. Thanks to Nelson’s savvy use of social media, the faces of the three individuals—a dad and his two children—have been blasted out for the world to see. Given the photographic evidence, the U.S. Forest Service is now on the hunt for them. To read more, click here.


--After the rockfall incident in Yosemite, the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome has been re-established. To learn more, click here.

--The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region is sharing its draft proposed species of conservation concern (SCC) lists as part of the land and resource management plan revision process for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. We are asking for public input that provides additional scientific information that may affect the draft proposed SCC lists. To read more, click here.

--There were a couple of backpacking SAR issues in the Sierra this week. To read about them, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--President Obama announced last week that he is designating three new national monuments, according to a White House press release. The new monuments will protect over one million acres of public land. The monuments include Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, Waco Mammoth in Texas, and Basin and Range in Nevada. To read more, click here.

--Echo Mountain ski area in Clear Creek County, Colorado announced that it will reopen to the public this December. The 226-acre ski area closed to the public in 2012 when it was purchased by Nora Pykkonen, who converted it to a ski-racing training facility that focused on school-aged kids. Pykkonen now hopes that by reopening, they can extend the ski hill’s hours as well as build more opportunities for ski training at the mountain. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--The Access Fund recently issued an article on "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" on NPS bolting rules. These rules were all supposed to fall in line after Director's Order #41 removed the threat that bolts would be banned in wilderness. To read the article, click here.

--The family of an 11-year-old boy has filed a lawsuit against the YMCA of South Florida after he fell nearly 40 feet from the top of a portable rock-climbing wall that is owned and operated by the Weston YMCA. The lawsuit alleges that the staff at the Weston facility were not properly trained, supervised or monitored in the operation and use of the climbing wall and the equipment. To read more, click here.

--The general manager for Maine’s Saddleback ski area said Friday the resort has extended its self-imposed deadline by a few days for securing $3 million in financing for a new chairlift. On July 20, Saddleback’s co-owner Mark Berry announced the ski area would cease winter operations if it could not secure $3 million in financing needed to purchase a new four-person chairlift to replace the aging double chairlift that currently services much of the resort’s intermediate terrain and provides access to the resort’s upper chairlift, the Kennebago Quad. To read more, click here.

--The world-renowned Italian climber Reinhold Messner was among the first to scale Mount Everest in 1978 without bottled oxygen and was the first person to climb all of the world’s 14 mountains higher than 8,000 meters (26,247 feet). In recent years, the 70-year-old adventurer and author has also built a physical legacy that consists of a half-dozen Messner Mountain Museums. These interdisciplinary spaces located throughout South Tyrol and Belluno in northern Italy are devoted to exploring the nature and culture of mountains and those who love to climb them. To read more, click here.

--Many state associations and the National Ski Area Association tally snowsports visits, or one person skiing/snowboarding one day (or night). Total snowsports visits is an important indicator of the overall volume of people participating and the total business levels of a ski area - when more people visit to ski and ride, more hamburgers and beers get sold, more lessons get taught, and more tall tees and beanies leave the retail store racks. According to National Ski Areas Association, the total number of snowsports visits in the US for the 2014/15 season was 53.6 million--more than three times as many as the number of people who attended NFL games in 2014. To read more, click here.

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